For every high profile blockbuster that is getting shoved down our throats, there is some fresh counter programming that is praying for any box office dollars that it can get. “The Double” is a fresh take on the famous Dostoevsky novella about a mild mannered man who finds his life being usurped by his doppelganger and is truly one of those movies that film fans adore and rarely get made anymore.
“The Double” follows the life of mild mannered Simon (Jesse Eisenberg), a socially isolated and timid guy who’s overlooked at work, scorned by his mother, and ignored by the woman of his dreams (Mia Wasikowska). That is until his life gets turned upside down with the arrival of a new co-worker, James (Jesse Eisenberg). James is both Simon’s exact physical double and his opposite as he is a confident, charismatic guy who is effortless with the ladies. Eventually to Simon’s horror, James slowly starts taking over his life and Simon gets driven closer and closer to the edge.
In his follow up to the festival darling “Submarine”, writer/director Richard Ayoade gives audiences a very different experience as he tackles this classic piece of literature.
Crafting a comically dystopian vibe somewhere in-between the works of Terry Gilliam and the Czech New Wave cinema movement, it’s a bleakly stunning film that still manages to generate a fair amount of laughs. Ayoade plays with the visuals in a brilliant fashion and it keeps us guessing at every single turn as we never quite know which was is up with these characters. The script that was written by Avi Korine and Ayoade bristles with some genuine wit and sly social commentary as we see Jesse Eisenberg try to take control of his life back from…Jesse Eisenberg.
Eisenberg playing the dual role of the meek James Simon and the confident and outgoing Simon James worked to damn near perfection as he effortlessly navigated both sides of the emotional coin. His performances draws us as an audience into this crazy world that he is living in, making us empathize with him and hate him all at the same time. Mia Wasikowska works wonders opposite him as the object of his affection and the ensemble that features the likes of Wallace Shawn, Cathy Moriarty, Noah Taylor and a few surprises I won’t spoil for you but it makes for a fair bit of fun.
“The Double” is that kind of movie that can slide through the cracks but trust me because you don’t want that to happen because it is one of the truly unique experiences of the calendar year as Ayoade and the ensemble weave us in and out of a world in a constant state of flux as it makes us laugh, cringe and feel everything that is going on to these characters at exactly the same time.
5 out of 5 stars.
Picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray are first rate as the quality of the imagery plays great allowing us as an audience to get immersed in this world. Special features on the Blu-Ray include four behind the scenes featurettes, an interview with co-writer and director Richard Ayoade and the trailer.
“The Double” is now available on DVD, Blu-Ray, On Demand and Digital Download from retailers and providers everywhere.